Turkey Pesto Meatballs (Baby-Friendly!)

I’m not dead, I promise. Just took a really long time off blogging after realizing last fall that my site was hacked and was directing my readers to a porn site. At the time, I found this simultaneously extremely funny and extremely annoying. When Facebook wouldn’t let me put a link to the blog in my “About” section because I was being flagged for inappropriate behavior, I knew it was probably time to take a break.

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Turkey Pesto Meatballs

It took a few months of changing my host and hiring a third party to salvage all of my images from the old site, but I am happy to say we are back and running! And since my last post in September of 2018 (!), we’ve had some major life events, probably the biggest being our beautiful baby girl born last December.

You’ll probably find it ironic that my first post back from this long maternity leave is one of the few non-vegetarian recipes on the whole site. Since becoming a mom, I’ve tried to be a little more flexible with not only how I’m eating, but also what I’m offering to my child. I firmly believe that Elena should be introduced to all types of food- meat, meat substitutes, dairy, gluten, fruits, vegetables, sugar, and yes, even processed foods in their place. In my mind, no food should be labeled as “bad for you” or on the X-list. While there are definitely certain foods that make us feel better or worse when we eat them, I want my kids to eventually figure out how to make those decisions on their own. One day I will share my own journey with food and restricted eating, and how my struggles have led me to a place where I can be free to connect with other people over ALL types of food! Luckily for you, that day is not today.

Am I still mostly-vegetarian? Yes. Do I make more meals that the whole family can eat? You bet. Do I indulge in cookies my Mother-in-law brings over or steal some of Elena’s turkey rollups before putting them on her high-chair tray? Absolutely.

Which brings me to this recipe I developed with the baby in mind. I wanted something with protein, healthy fats, and veggies since her current favorites (muffins, tortillas, and blueberries) don’t include either. I also wanted something I could freeze and then pop in the microwave for a quick reheat. I used a recipe for basic meatballs from Baked Bree with a few additions. Hope you enjoy!

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Turkey Pesto Meatballs


2 pounds ground turkey breast

1/2 onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup shredded carrots

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt (go light or omit if feeding to a baby)

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 egg whites


Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until soft.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and combine well.

Roll into small balls and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Makes 3 dozen meatballs.

Happy July!

Happy July! The summer is rolling in FAST and that means HOT. After spending our afternoon at an outdoors event last night, I was craving something cool and light. I had a few extra tomatoes on hand and some balsamic glaze that I had picked up at TJ’s (sample stand impulse buy, anyone?) so this salad basically made itself. I threw in some leftover corn from the other night and also some brown rice to bulk it up a bit.

Caprese with a side of black lab 🙂

On the fourth we will be driving up to Michigan where hopefully we’ll get a reprieve from the heat (or at least the humidity!) This summer has been especially bad so far- not sure if that’s pregnancy-related or if I’m just becoming a normal human being?

P.S. I started using my pregnancy pillow and at first I was like, “this thing is a monster, how do I even use it?” but once I got the hang of it, life = changed. Not sure Ben likes having something the size of another human being in our bed with us!


Ok, on to the recipe!

Caprese and Corn Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Summer, Healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
A light and fresh salad that is perfect for hot July nights!
  • 5 large tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • ¼ cup chopped basil (about 8 leaves)
  • 8 oz mozzarella pearls
  • 1 ear corn, cooked (or ½ cup corn kernels)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • sea salt flakes
  • black pepper
  • optional: 1/3 cup cooked rice or other grain (I had leftover rice so just threw it in to sop up some of the dressing)
  • optional: balsamic glaze
  1. In a large bowl, add tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, corn, and garlic.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (through pepper). Drizzle on salad and toss gently.
  3. Top with additional sea salt, pepper, and balsamic glaze!

Hope you enjoy!

Quick and Fluffy Flourless Pancake for One

Happy Saturday! I had the BEST brunch this morning. I was trying to decide between oatmeal and toast w/ PB, and then I had the idea of doing a variation of the Flour Free Breakfast Pancake from Fannetastic Food. I knew I wanted some hearty oats, so I whipped up my own recipe. The best part about this is that you can add any mix-ins or toppings that you want. I chose pumpkin seeds, raisins, apple butter, peanut butter, chia seeds, banana, and a drizzle of honey!

Hope you enjoy, and have a great weekend!



Quick and Fluffy Flourless Pancake for One
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Flour free, healthy, breakfast, vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
The perfect Saturday brunch for one! Top with anything you want!
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • dash each of salt and cinnamon
  • dash of stevia to sweeten (to taste)
  • Mix-ins (optional): raisins, chocolate chips, blueberries
  • Toppings: pumpkin seeds, banana, apple butter, peanut butter, honey, chia seeds (whatever you like!)
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Heat small pad of butter in skillet.
  3. Pour in pancake batter and cook on medium-low until browned (about 3-4 mins). Flip and continue to cook for 2-3 additional mins.
  4. Top with additional toppings and enjoy!
As seen on insta…

Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle (Vegan, GF)

Happy Monday! It’s felt like a while since I’ve had a spare few minutes to put up a post on here… life has been crazy these days! But, I was finally able to steal a few hours in the kitchen today on my day off to whip up the salad of all salads.

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and that means party-season! Cheers to dining al fresco, cooking out, and spending times with friends. This year we’re hosting a few friends at our house potluck-style. As some of them follow vegan and/or gluten-free diets, I thought a big salad would be the perfect side to share. (There will also be “the meats”… but Ben is in charge of that area :P)

Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle

Vegan, gluten-free, and packed with protein for staying-power, I will definitely be tucking this one away in my recipe files! I used nutritional yeast (my first time using!) to give the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas a “cheesy” vibe, and of course a lemon-tahini dressing always takes the creamy factor up a notch.

Pair this with meat, tofu, or a poached egg to make it a meal. A few slices of avocado would be perfect here too. Oh my goodness. Get in my belly NOW.

Recipe below. Enjoy!

Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle (Vegan, GF)
Recipe Type: Vegan, Gluten-Free
Cuisine: Summer, Healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
The perfect potluck dish for Memorial Day! Vegan, gluten-free, and deliciously satisfying. Drizzle with some of the lemon-tahini vinaigrette to take the creamy-dreamy factor to the next level!
  • 1 cup rinsed quinoa
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp greek seasoning (or just use garlic powder)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 large tomato (or 1 cup cherry tomatoes), chopped roughly
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • handful baby carrots, chopped roughly
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • For drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice of other half of lemon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • hot water, to thin
  1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, and seasoning. Spread in an even layer on a prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Cook for 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, mix quinoa and lentils in a saucepan and add 2 cups water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 18-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and lentils are al dente.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the tomato, parsley, carrots, lemon juice 3-4 times or until roughly chopped. Don’t overdo it here- you don’t want gazpacho!
  4. Add the chopped veggie mixture to a large bowl and toss with spinach and the cooked grains. Top with roasted cauliflower mixture and sprinkle on additional nutritional yeast if desired.
  5. To prepare the lemon tahini drizzle, whisk together all ingredients in a jar. Add enough hot water to thin out, then drizzle on top of salad.
Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle (Vegan, GF)

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Why hello! Did you have a good weekend?

We did here! Friday night Ben and I headed downtown for happy hour to watch the live music at Brightleaf Square. It wasn’t as packed as it usually is, but that’s likely because we were there on the early side, PLUS it was about 398 degrees out so really, all the smart people were inside. We were exhausted, so it was nice to just chill out melt and put our feet up for a while as we sipped brews and munched on chips.

Saturday was a major errands/chores day. I made a big grocery run and did some cooking for the week (prepped crock pot chicken to use in enchiladas for Ben, plus the salad in this post), tried out my AMAZING new cordless vacuum (I think the neighbors are starting to get concerned that I have a cleaning problem… good thing it has a short battery life!), went for a run, and took Samoa for a long walk on the trail. Today it was a 20 mi. bike ride on the ATC (before the humidity set in!), church, a cat-nap, and the 2nd Rock Steady Boxing Class in Cary with a few of my PD patients. Then this afternoon we met up with a few small group folks (missed you, Tawny and Healys!) to play board games at Ponysaurus. Fun day!

Part of what I like to do on the weekends is prep one nice big salad and casserole to last us through the week. We still have leftovers from last week’s Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna, but it’s nice to have another option while this dwindles (or goes bad, whichever happens first). I usually eat the salad as my entree with some roasted veggies and some type of meatless protein (my go-to is tofu, but I’m also a big fan of the fried egg or some kind of fish), and Ben will have the casserole with the salad as a side. It’s been working great for us since both of us work full-time, and it avoids the whole staring-at-the-open-fridge and shouting “honey, what do we have to eat?” problem, OR the temptation to get take-out!

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

This week an oldie but a goodie is on the salad menu. Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. I’ve definitely made this before, since it’s super easy and feeds a crowd, but I’m not sure I ever used this much lime juice. I’ve definitely never used fresh roasted corn on the cob, either. It made a HUGE difference! The roasted corn is much sweeter than frozen, and it absorbs much more of the vinaigrette.

This salad is salsa-like in texture, and I’ve also started adding a grain blend (lentils and farro are the best) to help absorb some of the extra liquid and bulk up the salad a bit. Bigger salad = fewer weeknights that I have to cook. I’m pretty OK with that. I would rather spend my time recipe-creating when I’m relaxed and have a whole afternoon to do it than when I get home at 7pm and have about 20 other things to do to get ready ready for the next day.

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian, Mexican
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Love salsa as much as I do? I could eat it by the gallon! Instead of stocking your pantry with Tostitos, though, why not try out a fresh take on your own? Better for you AND cheaper! Perfect for dunking chips, stuffing tacos, or eating right out of the bowl 🙂
  • 1 cup lentils or farro (I used a mixture, so about 1/2 cup of each)
  • 5 medium ears of corn
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or less if you don’t like your salad as acidic as I do!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, for spice-lovers)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (about 1/2 onion)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • fresh chopped avocado, for serving
  • additional cilantro, for serving
  • greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Husk corn and bake at 350, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes until kernels are tender. When cool to touch, slice kernels lengthwise to remove from the cob. Set aside.
  2. Combine 1 cup lentils/farro with 2 1/2 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 13 minutes until al dente. Drain immediately.
  3. Meanwhile, make vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil through garlic powder in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in red onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, beans, and corn.
  5. Stir in lentils/farro (this is best when the grains are still warm, so they soak up the juice of the tomatoes and vinaigrette).
  6. Serve immediately or store for up to 6 days in the fridge. Just before serving, top with sliced avocado, additional cilantro, salt and pepper, and a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.

This goes without saying, but you have complete freedom to experiment with different varieties of grains, beans, and veggies in this salad. Get creative! I forgot to do it this time, but a drizzle of honey would be amazing in the vinaigrette for a touch of sweetness. Although I do insist on using corn on the cob vs. canned or frozen. Makes a world of difference!

Like I said in the beginning of this post, this salad is totally versatile and can be enjoyed as a main dish, side, or garnish. I currently love dipping hearty crackers or crispbread and letting them get the slightest bit soggy before I top with a little dollop of Greek and stuff it in my mouth. Let me know how you like it. Happy week!

Turkey Sausage Egg Casserole with Sweet Potato Hash

Hope everyone had a great weekend! It was absolutely gorgeous here, and I was able to get outside for a few walks/bike rides in the sunshine after a fun Friday night at our first salsa dance class (our small group is taking lessons… it was a riot! You can follow the fun and see what we did to “re-fuel” on my Instagram page). Will have to get a video one of these days to capture the silliness… 😛

In other news, turkey sausage egg casserole was in the books for tonight! I had planned to make a Shepherd’s Pie for Ben to grab for dinners this week, but he said he’d prefer to have a lighter fare. I suggested quiche. He suggested egg casserole!

Of course, I made it as gourmet as I could. Sun-dried tomatoes and all! I kept things easy with some pre-cooked turkey sausage and frozen spinach, day-old bakery buns, and un-skinned (but very washed!) sweet potatoes.


Hope you enjoy!

Turkey Sausage Egg Casserole with Sweet Potato Hash
Recipe Type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Author: Claire McCormick
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
An easy and leftover-heavy egg casserole that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Serve with a spinach side salad and dollop of Greek yogurt on top.
  • 4 hearty buns (I used a garlic brioche)
  • 4 T olive oil, divided (2T + 2T)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1/2 T each dried thyme and parsley
  • Pinch each of S&P
  • 3/4 cup chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 small package sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 package fully cooked turkey sausage crumbles (you could also use uncooked or links- just cook, then slice thinly or crumble!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, tear buns into pieces and layer in bottom of dish.
  2. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, parsley, S+P, and cook for 3 minutes or until tender.
  3. Stir in frozen spinach, tomatoes, and turkey sausage and cook for 2-3 more minutes until spinach is heated through. Pour over the bread in casserole dish.
  4. In a food processor set to shredding setting, shred sweet potatoes to medium-fine thickness. Pour into a large bowl and stir in remaining 2 T olive oil. Spread in an even layer over the top of the sausage.
  5. In same bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg and garlic powder.
  6. Pour egg mixture evenly over potatoes in dish, shaking dish a bit to make sure it’s evenly distributed (I also sometimes press down the casserole to make sure the bread gets saturated).
  7. Top with cheese, cover with foil and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (up to overnight) to allow it to set.
  8. When ready to eat, heat oven to 350 deg and bake 40 mins covered, then 15 minutes uncovered or until potatoes are crisped and cheese is melted.
  9. Allow to set at least 10 min before slicing and serving! Serve with side salad and a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.
Cook onions, ‘shrooms, and tomatoes with garlic and spices.
Add spinach and sausage.
Tear bread and place in dish.
Shred sweet potatoes.
Whisk eggs.
Layer sausage mixture on top of bread.
Top with sweet potatoes.
And cheese. 🙂
Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and taters are tender!
Serve with side salad, avocado wedges and greek yogurt.

Happy week!